Withdrawal a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶C̶y̶c̶l̶e̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶A̶d̶d̶i̶c̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ aka Please Make it ****ing Stop
When initially writing up this post, I intended to start with the following: "While addiction is a multifaceted and complex issue that is self-reinforcing due to a variety of factors, an undeniable feature of perpetual use is withdrawal experienced by the user."
**** that. While that may be factually true, I don't think that there is an addict on the planet who would appreciate their experience with withdrawal being reduced to some grandiose explanation as to why they kept using. I mean we're all aware of that, right? What else could cause us to waste a perfectly good monologue about how this time its going to be different and we'll manage to stop on our own. "I'll show ALL of you assholes, I don't need rehab, I have WILLPOWER," shouts the motivated addict in a passionately charged rant as they proceed to delete the numbers of all but one of the dealers on their phone. "I'm allowed to keep Paul's number, he wished me happy birthday last year when even my ex didn't! I'll show HER! She'll regret leaving me for refusing to seek help after I clean up."
That feeling is pure bliss, genuinely believing that you'll be able to stop without intervention. We start to envision our great, sober life with the icing on the cake being that we did it OUR way, without anyone's help. We didn't need them.
Alas, all is good and well until our body starts shouting for more, in spite of the determined state of our conscious mind. That all too familiar anxiety and edginess starts to creep in. At first, it is but a murmur but before long it is all-consuming. Perhaps the sweats or the shakes start to kick in and our earlier resilience begins to wither by the hour to the point where we are glad that we kept Paul's contact. And to think that this process plays out in the lives of millions across the world, God forbid!
Outside of the demoralising and frustrating aspects of relapsing this way, withdrawal, and the subsequent relapse, pose a real danger to the health of an addict. It is pertinent that users that are experiencing withdrawal symptoms seek medical attention, especially if they are withdrawing from alcohol or benzodiazepines as withdrawal caused by these drugs can be lethal. In such a volatile time, where the supply of drugs might be sporadic and movement may be restricted, it is necessary to raise awareness around this.